THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS TASK
dolce far niente.
If you have seen the movie "Eat Pray Love," you are all too familiar with the Italian saying dolce far niente. By day I am a brand strategist, website and graphic designer, wifey, and mompreneur. By night, while the rest of my house is sleeping, I’m continuing my entrepreneurial journey, dreaming big about my next great (ad)venture – cue the drums! Juggling all these tasks can be confusing and a bit overwhelming at times, and because of this, I realized I have been completely disregarding the most important task that every business person should make a priority — the task of dolce far niente, meaning the sweetness of doing nothing.
Through this season of building my business, I have purposefully been praying for God’s guidance every step of the way. He has been keeping me busy, but recently I felt this sudden urge that He needed me to stop — completely stop with everything work related. I kept thinking, “but wait! I have this and this that I need to do… and what about this?” But despite my worries, in my heart I felt God was saying that all of it could wait. So I obeyed, stopped working for a few days, and began to see what God needed me to experience: dolce far niente.
My time spent doing nothing consisted of a variety of experiences that I previously took for granted. I realized that in order to be a good designer, I need to take care of the things that are most important to me first. What did I do during my dolce far niente time? I laid on the sofa at 2 a.m. and mindlessly stared at the ceiling, and another time I sat outside and admired the slight (very slight) breeze that swept across my face during the hot and humid Louisiana summer day. I also sat on the floor and took in every detail of my now 16-month-old daughter’s face. She grew so fast... I saw new things about her that I've never seen before. How did work consume me so much to the point where I've never noticed certain features of my own baby’s face? My dolce far niente time also consisted of a nice and well overdue date night with my husband.
So even though I was doing something with my dolce far niente time, I was doing nothing with work. And by taking a break from work I actually got to accomplish the things that meant most to me, which gave me renewed energy. I have learned that in order to be a good business owner, I need to be a good employee. But in order to be a good employee, I need to be a good wife and mother.
My husband is the most amazing man. It is so important that our relationship is cared for properly because he is my motivator. If our relationship wasn’t in good standing, then the motivation wouldn't be there, and I can guarantee it would be evident in my work atmosphere. Same for my daughter — she is the driving force of this company because I want to be the best role model I can be for her — which leads me to my next point.
In order to be a good wife and mother, I need to be good to myself. BINGO! And that’s why God wanted me to experience dolce far niente. This task is the most important task on my busy business to-do list. We have learned to take this task very seriously in our household. My husband works so hard to provide for our family and he takes time for himself weekly to do something active during his dolce far niente. And now, from time to time, I will make myself take a nice outing by myself where I usually just reflect, get inspired, and pray.
My most recent dolce far niente didn’t make sense to me at first, but after learning what God needed me to learn it now makes absolute sense. See, I have been seeking motivation for my business everywhere recently... from mentors, quotes, self-motivation, etc. One day I had the choice to either go listen to a motivational speaker at church (the obvious choice based on my seeking motivation all the time) or I could go to a yoga class. There's no doubt I would have LOVED the speaker, but I was mentally exhausted from the overload of motivation I’ve been constantly consuming lately. Instead, I took the opportunity to enjoy the yoga class and get in touch with my inner self… the perfect dolce far niente if you ask me! I left the class feeling so refreshed and more motivated than I have ever been, oddly enough.
To sum things up, the time you spend on business tasks lasts for hours, and each task is only temporary. But the time you take for yourself can last as little as 10 minutes (or less) but will surely have everlasting results — being a better you! So when you catch yourself frequently working ‘til 4 a.m., ask yourself about the last time you experienced dolce far niente. Time is too precious — it will slip away in the blink of an eye — so I challenge you to add your own dolce far niente task to your already busy schedule — you won't regret it. What do you do to complete your dolce far niente task?